Interview with historical romance author J. Y. Flynn

My very
special guest today is J. Y. Flynn and we’re
chatting about her historical romantic fiction, Lily Anne of San Francisco.
J. Y.
Flynn worked as a business administrator for twenty years and wrote articles
and quarterly papers for women’s associations while raising her three children.
After retiring, she began to write fiction and participated in numerous writing
workshops. Her short stories have been published in The San Francisco Chronicle, The
San Mateo Times
, Sun Senior News,
and several small magazines including Grit,
Reminisce, Writer’s Open Forum, The Sand
, and the national magazine RAW
(Real Authentic Women)
by fellow authors and family members, she embarked on a thirty-year quest to
tell the story of Lily Anne of San
. Loosely based on the true-life adventures of two of the most
colorful, outrageous, and memorable characters she had ever met, J. Y. Flynn
crafted her tale of historical and romantic fiction set in the vibrant city of
San Francisco.
At 92 years
old, the author is thrilled to have her first novel published and hopes her
next book will take less time to complete.
Welcome. J. Y. Please tell us about
your current release.
Lily Anne of San Francisco tells the story of Lily Anne
O’Brien who arrives in San Francisco in 1904, a city teeming with promise, not
unlike the twelve-year-old herself. Captivated by the curiosities of North
Beach, Chinatown, and the wicked Barbary Coast, she reciprocates by beguiling
San Francisco society with her angelic singing voice and seductive beauty.
The Great
Earthquake of 1906 destroys her home. To remain in San Francisco, she
scandalously marries Kevin Riley, a twenty-seven-year-old gambler. At age 15,
she gives birth to a daughter, Charlotte, who is destined to live in the shadow
of her mother’s beauty, talent, and limitless self-regard.
Anne’s story tells how she transforms from reckless teenager, to divorced
single-parent, to successful entrepreneur, and ultimately becomes an eccentric
relic of a by-gone era.
Lightly based
on actual people and events known to the author, Lily Anne of San Francisco ($14.95 Homefires Press, February 2016)
provides an insider’s look into San Francisco high society in the first four
decades of the 20th century. Living through tumultuous times – the 1906
earthquake, World War I, and the Great Depression – Lily Anne was a
trend-setter through it all, rubbing elbows with Enrico Caruso, Lillian Gish,
and Randolph Hearst. As one reviewer put it, “Readers, like the many
characters in this book, will experience a love-hate relationship with Lily
Anne; she is truly charismatic and utterly exasperating.”
What inspired you to write this
I came to
San Francisco in 1945 from Portland, Oregon and was most surprised that despite
big reputation, it was a small city. At that time, people who lived in San
Francisco could usually meet someone they knew each time they walked down
Market Street. I was intrigued by the diversity of the people and cultural
neighborhoods in San Francisco. Friends of ours, a mother and daughter who
loved San Francisco, had lived in The City from the early nineteen hundreds. They
experienced the trauma and pleasure the city had to offer as they laughed their
way through life. Their stories inspired me to write this book.
Excerpt from Lily Anne of San Francisco:
from Chapter 29, The Wedding
previous evening’s discussion was not mentioned the next morning. Victoria and
Maggie took the buckboard into town to shop, and the girls did a bit of
Peggy,” Lily Anne crowed, “I’m having such fun! Moses, the piano player from
New Orleans, has been teaching me to sing songs that are popular in the South.
I’m learning the words to lots of other country songs, too.”
rather entertain at the tavern than be an opera star?”
never wanted to be an opera star; that’s Mama’s dream. My dream is to live in
San Francisco forever.”
father says you can’t live with us anymore. Are you going to marry Kevin?”
I want to live in San Francisco, I guess I’ll have to.”
persisted. “Do you love Kevin?”
Anne smiled wickedly. “I love San Francisco.”
What exciting story are you working
on next?
I am
working on a book tilted, Surprises. A
man and women contemplate marriage without talking about their former lives. He
does not know she is the mother of three children.
When did you first consider yourself
a writer?
always loved to read. The year I was twelve, I read every murder mystery in the
downtown public library in Portland, Oregon. I enjoyed writing in school and
believe anyone who loves to read is a potential writer. I was 92 years old by
the time I considered myself an author. Lily
Anne of San Francisco
was published in 2016 and received five out of five stars
by the San Francisco Book Review.
It suggested the story was a classic with silver screen potential.
Do you write full-time? If so,
what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do
you find time to write?
Yes. I
devote three to six hours a day to my current project. That was not always
possible. It took thirty years to finish Lily
Ann of San Francisco
. I was the mother of three children, active in school
and social activities, and I managed the office of my husband’s plumbing business.
We traveled extensively, too.
It’s not
too hard to find time to write at my age of 92. I love Jack Benny’s quote. “Age
is mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”
What would you say is your
interesting writing quirk?
mental vignettes about strangers in restaurants, airports, planes, and anywhere
I have five minutes to spare.
As a child, what did you want to be
when you grew up?
I wanted
to be a movie star. In high school, a counselor suggested I could become a
teacher based on my test scores. But then, World War II came along and I got
Anything additional you want to
share with the readers?
Choose to
be happy. Smile, laugh out loud. Follow your passion.
You can connect with J. Y. through Facebook or Amazon.

Thanks for being here, today, J. Y.!
Happy writing!!

5 thoughts on “Interview with historical romance author J. Y. Flynn

  1. Anonymous says:

    What a wonderful article! I've read the book and was absolutely fascinated by the stories! I didn't know these extra details about the author either. I consider the book a must-read! Thanks for reviewing it!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for a great blog post. I read the book and thought it was fantastic–truly interesting characters and fascinating details about life in San Francisco! I look forward to more surprises from J.Y. Flynn's next book!

  3. Unknown says:

    Great blog post. As a lover of San Francisco history Lily Anne of San Francisco was a book that satisfied my historical passion. There were aspects of this book, which made me feel as if I were visiting San Francisco in years gone by. I enjoyed this book written by J.Y. Flynn and would recommend it to anyone.

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